Glazed Maple Gingerbread

published Nov 30, 2023
Holiday Cookies 2023
Glazed Maple Gingerbread Recipe

These snappy gingerbread cookies call for an easy glazing technique to make the prettiest swirls.

Makes60 (3-inch) cookies

Prep1 hour

Cook30 minutes to 40 minutes

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Overhead view of glazed maple gingerbread cookies of assorted sizes scattered on brown butcher paper.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Jason Schreiber

What’s your holiday cookie personality? Take our quiz, then discover 10 brand-new delicious cookie recipes, featuring some of The Kitchn’s favorite bakers. This content is presented in partnership with Challenge Butter; it was created independently by our editorial team. 

Decorating cookies is a traditional and comforting holiday activity that flexes your artistic muscles. These crisp, not-too-sweet gingerbread, which are gently flavored with maple syrup and coconut oil, serve as your blank canvas. In place of fussy piping techniques, I call for coating these cookies in thin, delicate glazes that swirl together to create impressionistic marbled pools. 

These cookies have a unique topping — an unexpected medley of vinegar-spiked glazes and dried fruit garnishes. Using wine vinegars and fruit-based vinegars add an irresistible tartness that’s an ideal foil to the powdered sugar. A kit of these baked gingerbread, along with small jars of premixed icings and a pouch of dried fruit toppings, makes an incredible gift for anyone who claims they don’t bake, but loves to draw, craft, or decorate during the holidays.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Jason Schreiber

If You’re Making Glazed Maple Gingerbread, a Few Tips

  • Experiment with natural dyes. Plenty of your pantry staples can provide natural coloring as well as subtle flavor. For an extra jolt of color, infuse the glaze with other natural ingredients, like a pinch of dried hibiscus (bright pink), powdered matcha (mellow green), dried butterfly pea flower (light blue), or turmeric (earthy yellow).
  • Don’t worry if you can’t find whole-wheat pastry flour. If you have whole-wheat flour, run it through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bran for a finer texture. Otherwise, you can substitute an equal amount of all-purpose flour, or you can make a custom flour blend by using 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour — just make sure to run it through a strainer first. 
  • Play around with the forgiving icing. If you don’t like your design, you can always scrape off the wet icing with a small offset spatula and start over.
  • Give other cutters a try. You can opt for festive cutters like gingerbread people or christmas trees, or keep it simple with a round cutter. 

Glazed Maple Gingerbread Recipe

These snappy gingerbread cookies call for an easy glazing technique to make the prettiest swirls.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Makes 60 (3-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup

    whole-wheat pastry flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup

    melted coconut oil

  • 1/2 cup

    coconut sugar or maple sugar

  • 1/2 cup

    maple syrup

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2 1/2 cups

    powdered sugar, divided

  • 2 tablespoons

    fruit vinegar, such as cherry or raspberry, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons

    balsamic vinegar, plus more as needed

  • Natural red or pink food coloring (optional)

  • 1/3 cup

    crystallized ginger or dried fruit, such as dried blueberries or chopped dried papaya

Instructions

  1. Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  2. Place 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, 1/2 cup coconut or maple sugar, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

  3. Cut out 4 (12x16-inch) sheets of parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and place each portion between two pieces of the parchment. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough to the size of the parchment (about 1/16-inch thick). Stack the dough, still in parchment, on a baking sheet. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. (The stacked dough can also be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.)

  4. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350°F.

  5. Peel off the top sheet of parchment from each portion of dough; use them to line 2 baking sheets. Using a 3-inch star or other desired cookie cutter, cut out as many as you can. Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart. Gather the scraps, reroll, and cut out more cookies. Reroll the scraps one more time; discard the remaining scraps.

  6. Bake until the edges are slightly darkened, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet; the cookies will crisp up as they cool. Repeat baking the remaining cookies on cooled baking sheets.

  7. While the cookies are cooling, place 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar in a small bowl, and 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar in a second small bowl. Add 2 tablespoons fruit vinegar to the first bowl and whisk until smooth (it should be runny and sheer); whisk in more vinegar 1 teaspoon at a time if needed to get the runny consistency. Repeat with adding 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar to the second bowl. Add a drop of red or pink food coloring to either bowl to enhance the colors if desired.

  8. Spoon small dabs of both icings on top of the cooled cookies, creating an abstract pattern. Tilt the cookie in all directions to allow the excess icing to drip off, warping the shapes into marbled swirls, and return to the baking sheet. Decorate with crystallized ginger or dried fruit. Let sit until the icing is set, about 10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The gingerbread can be rolled out, chilled, cut into cookies, and frozen solid on baking sheets. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Bake from frozen for the same amount of time. The icings can be made and refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 month; thaw in the refrigerator and stir before using.

Storage: The iced cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

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